Stratos, Fugro Team Up to Provide Pos-Hurricane Platform Assessments

Stratos Global Corporation

Stratos Global Corporation has begun field testing of Iridium's OpenPort marine satellite system with Fugro onboard a vessel operating in the Gulf of Mexico.

During the initial phase of the communications field testing onboard the M/V Betty Cheramie, Fugro is using Iridium OpenPort to provide post-Hurricane Ike damage assessments of oil and gas platforms operated by a major independent oil & gas company. Fugro is conducting these assessments to determine the extent of damage and the appropriate next steps for field operations.

Throughout this damage-assessment project, Fugro expects to use Iridium OpenPort to power voice and data connectivity required for daily status reports, quality control and remote monitoring with shore-side experts.

"As we mobilized onto the M/V Betty Cheramie to manage this urgent damage-assessment project, we had minimal space to deploy communications equipment. OpenPort's portability allowed for rapid deployment," said Fugro Chance Manager of Marine Development Larry Prewitt.

Fugro Chance CIO Jerry Greig added, "During this communications testing phase, we hope to confirm that OpenPort will be ideally suited to support reliable, cost-effective collaboration between our field-based employees and our shore-side office staff. We selected Stratos for this field trial because its wide range of value-added services can help us get the most from the OpenPort platform, with the least amount of effort."

With always-on Ethernet and three voice lines that can be used simultaneously, Iridium OpenPort will deliver reliable, cost-effective communications for shipping and fishing fleets around the globe. Up to three phone lines allow for simultaneous captain and crew use, even during data transmission. With its small footprint and light weight, the Iridium OpenPort antenna array can be quickly installed on any location on deck. It does not require a stabilization platform and is virtually maintenance free.

Iridium will offer a number of simplified service packages that bundle data usage and voice minutes. Service packages will be available at data speeds of 9.6kbps, 32kbps, 64kbps and 128kbps.

Stratos became an Iridium OpenPort global distribution partner in May. Iridium OpenPort from Stratos is the latest addition to Stratos' industry-leading suite of maritime broadband satellite services, which includes FleetBroadband from Stratos and the VSAT solutions OceanVSAT and StratosITek. Stratos is the largest supplier of mobile satellite services to the maritime industry, with communications to more than 40,000 maritime terminals worldwide.

Stratos Senior Vice President, MSS Marketing & Sales Ronald Spithout said, "Advance interest in the OpenPort solution has been very high. Maritime users of all sizes are attracted to the service because of its cost-efficiency, versatility and global reach. The service is designed to provide the flexible communications platform needed to separate crew calling from bridge calling, while at the same time providing access to navigational charts and other important data."

Spithout added, "We expect our testing programs with Fugro and other customers will yield valuable input to help ensure that the final service we offer is the most effective possible."

Customers using Iridium OpenPort from Stratos will benefit from The Stratos Advantage, a suite of value-added services that help make satellite communications more productive and affordable by providing cost control, traffic control and data optimization. The cornerstone of The Stratos Advantage is Stratos Dashboard, which offers on-line activations and service configurations, along with monitoring voice and data traffic and the associated costs. It is used by thousands of Stratos BGAN and Iridium customers around the globe. The new Iridium OpenPort systems will be fully integrated with Stratos Dashboard in 2009.